Maintaining Lean Legs

Brief History: I’m a 41-year-old woman who was overweight from age 15 to 35. At age 35, I joined Weight Watchers, changed my diet, and committed to a healthy lifestyle—e.g., I exercise 6 days a week (strength train 3 days and do cardio all 6 days). I’ve lost 46 pounds and have maintained my weight for almost 6 year. (Went from 166lbs to 120lbs, or size 16 to 0-2!)

Overtime, my body began to transform in ways I never imagined possible--toned arms, legs, and waist.  At the suggestion of my trainer, for the past 7 months I've eaten a high protein and fat diet (aka "paleo diet").  I immediately noticed finer definition and an immediate weight loss. ( I was 125 at the time and was hoping to return to my usual weight of 120.) I dropped to 119!  This soon tapered off to about 123. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't again achieve the 119 weight.
 About two months ago, I started to notice that my legs, while toned, were no longer looking lean.  I was baffled by the notion that legs could be toned but not lean(!) and depressed considering how hard I work at taming my legs.  The Questions  . . . 1) Could the current state of my legs suggest that I need to increase my cardio and/or overall intensity?  2) Could the problem be the high protein/fat diet (no whole grains)? or 3) Could it be that the diet is forcing the fats to the surface, making them more readily available for burning?  As you can see, I'm confused and disheartened.  I'd appreciate any thoughts on this matter.  I know it's difficult to know exactly what to prescribe considering you are not familiar with me or my lifestyle.  Thank you for your time and expertise, Glenda M.  Francis

Hello! Well, congrats to you and your transformation. No need to get frustrated and glad you are reaching out for advice. 7 months is a very long time to stay on that type of diet plan and it sounds like your body is finally understanding what method you used to get to that place and it just doesn’t want to live that way anymore… probably ketosis? It’s time to shake things up and start again! I would consult with your trainer and work together on ways to confuse your body and how you can incorporate some new training techniques to break out of this plateau. Tri-sets, drop sets, circuit training with cardio blast between, etc… Next, you need to start cycling carbs back into your diet. Again, have your trainer devise a new plan that will lessen your fats on certain days, that should be replacd with calories from sources such as oats and yams… small portions to give your body what it needs and get your metabolism fired-up again. Hope this helps.